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Monday, February 25, 2008

 2:40 PM 

Gableman denounces ad, Butler asks groups to "stand down"


Burnett County Judge Michael Gableman, left, and state Supreme Court Justice Louis Butler, right, before their debate at the Madison Concourse Hotel.
MADISON -- Supreme Court candidate Michael Gableman today dismissed an ad by a third-party group questioning his appointment to the Burnett County bench as "smear tactics" from a "shadowy interest group."

Justice Louis Butler, who Gableman is running against in the April 1 election, asked third party groups like the Greater Wisconsin Committee to "stand down."

"Let us run our own campaigns," Butler said. The candidates appeared today at a debate sponsored by the Dane County Bar Association at the Madison Concourse Hotel.

See the ad here.

It was the first face-to-face meeting for the two candidates during this campaign. They had previously debated through a on-line radio show hosted by a University of Milwaukee student, and Gableman canceled on another scheduled event because cold weather grounded his flight.

See more in today's PM Update.

-- By Greg Bump

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Friday, February 22, 2008

 11:10 AM 

UW Advertising Project: Obama dominated airwaves

A study from the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project finds that Barack Obama spent more than twice all other candidates combined in TV advertising in Wisconsin, and racked up nearly five times the airtime of Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Obama also went on the air nearly a week before Clinton, premiering his first ad on Feb. 6, while Clinton's debuted on Feb. 12.

In all, the Democrats and Republican candidates John McCain and Mike Huckabee saturated the airwaves with over 8,000 spots in Wisconsin, spending approximately $2.1 million, the project reports. The Obama campaign spent more than $1.5 million dollars to air almost 6,000 spots; Clinton spent a little over $300,000, and McCain and Huckabee spent $180,0000 and $150,000, respectively.

According to an analysis by the UW project, all of the ads aired by McCain and Huckabee were positive, while half of Clinton's ads had significant negative content, and one quarter of Obama's ads attacked or counterattacked Clinton.

The Advertising Project analyzed data obtained from the TNS Media Intelligence Campaign Media Analysis Group (TNSMI/CMAG). The report analyses political television advertising in five Wisconsin media markets (Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Wausau, La Crosse) from February 6 to February 19.

Total by market:      Airings      Money Spent

Green Bay:              2005          $370,000
La Crosse:              1338          $250,000
Madison:                1580          $425,000
Milwaukee:             1799          $850,000
Wausau:                1534          $220,000

See the press release here.

-- By Staff

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

 3:35 PM 

Feingold leaning toward Obama

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, reiterated Thursday afternoon that he is leaning toward endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton for president. But, Feingold said, he's not there yet.

"I'm watching the race unfold," Feingold told WisPolitics.com in a brief telephone interview. "I think we'll know a lot more about the race in a few days, and the issue may well be irrelevant."

Feingold indicated he favors Obama because the Illinois Democrat defeated Clinton Tuesday in Wisconsin's Democratic presidential primary. Feingold cited Obama's victory in that contest as the biggest factor pushing him toward the Illinois Democrat.

When asked what was stopping him from endorsing outright, Feingold did not cite any specific reason. "Nothing's preventing me" from making a decision now, he said.

Feingold is one of the state Democratic Party's 16 super delegates. Obama already has the backing of seven super delegates, while two are backing Clinton.

-- By David M. Drucker

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 12:55 PM 

Kagen makes super delegate pledge to Obama official

U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen made it official today, pledging his super delegate vote to Barack Obama.

Kagen indicated before Tuesday's primary that he would support whoever won his district, which Obama took with about 56 percent of the vote. His office declined to say yesterday who he'd support.

But in a statement released today, he said he had spoken with Obama and Clinton last night to "express my appreciation for their great efforts to build a better nation for all of us."

But he said it was his responsibility to supporter the winner of his district.

"Senator Obama has earned my strongest support, and I look forward to working with him to guarantee access to affordable health care for all of us," he said in the statement.

Of the state's 16 super delegates, seven are now backing Obama while two are supporting Clinton.

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, another Dem super delegate, is also now saying he is "inclined" to support Obama.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:46 AM 

Another super delegate for Obama

Another Dem super delegate from Wisconsin is supporting Barack Obama.

Marquette University student Jason Rae, a Democratic National Committee member, said he decided to back Obama after seeing the overwhelming support he received from students and young people in Tuesday's primary. Rae said he had been undecided between Obama and Hillary Clinton himself until he walked into the voting booth Tuesday and went with his gut feeling.

He said when he was elected to the DNC, he decided that he wanted to represent the voice of his generation on the body.

"It was pretty clear and evident to me that my generation was speaking out for Senator Obama," Rae said.

That gives Obama six of the state's 16 super delegates, while Clinton has two. U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen had had indicated before the primary that he would pledged his super delegate vote to whoever won his district, and Obama won the 8th CD. But Kagen is so far holding off announcing a decision.

-- By JR Ross

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 6:02 PM 

Post-Primary Political Stock Report

--A collection of insider opinion--
(Feb. 19-20, 2008)

Rising

Barack Obama: The Dem presidential candidate sweeps to an overwhelming 17-point victory over Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's primary and grabs what could be a 14-delegate edge. Obama won all but 10 counties and rolled up huge margins in Dane and Milwaukee counties, eroding Clinton's support with women and blue-collar households in the process, according to unofficial returns. Obama's quick targeting of blue-collar Dems, his early TV advertising, his higher ad spending and Clinton's limited personal campaigning in Wisconsin (a snow day didn't help) contributed to the success, analysts say. He wins 12 more delegates than Clinton based on Tuesday's returns and picks up the support of super delegate Ron Kind, the congressman from La Crosse who promised to back the candidate who won his western Wisconsin district. Fellow super delegate Steve Kagen of Appleton made a similar pledge last week. Obama won the 8th CD as well, but Kagen was holding off as of Wednesday. If he follows through, that will give Obama a 14-delegate edge in Wisconsin.

John McCain: The Arizona senator uses a brief Wisconsin campaign to strengthen his grip on the Republican prez nomination and recruit conservative support. But about 42 percent of the Republican primary participants vote for somebody other than McCain (37 percent for Mike Huckabee and 5 percent for Ron Paul), and turnout on the Dem side is much higher. Still, McCain continues to pad his delegate lead, taking 31 of the 37 delegates awarded based on Tuesday's vote. He also has all three uncommitted GOP delegates backing him. Overall turnout was close to the projected 1.5 million voters, but about 1.1 million of those played in the more meaningful Dem primary. Hard-core conservatives are still warming up to McCain, but Wisconsin Republicans are closing ranks now -- a good indication for the fall, insiders say.

Jim Doyle: The enthusiastic Dem guv campaigns around the state for Obama and breaks the "Doyle endorsement curse" in a big way. Doyle gets to introduce Obama at the Kohl Center rally a week before the primary and then at a Saturday night Democratic Party dinner where Obama shines in front of national and state media. Fans say with Doyle's help, Obama was able to run a two-week campaign in Wisconsin while Clinton ran a lackluster effort. Doyle does a victory lap on primary night, declaring it "one of the great campaigns in the history of the state of Wisconsin." Insiders continue to wonder whether helping to deliver Wisconsin to Obama in the nomination phase of the prez contest will result in a job offer, and he gets some national notice on that front in the wake of Obama's big win. But first, skeptics say, he'll have to deliver the state in November, too, if Obama secures the Dem nomination.

Paul Ryan: It never hurts to be mentioned for higher office. Ryan, the 38-year-old conservative darling who represents the 1st Congressional District in Congress, is mentioned as a possible McCain running mate. Conservative sage Bob Novak taps him as a second-tier choice on "Meet the Press." Ryan demurs, and pundits say a Republican with guv experience from the Midwest or South is a better bet. But the mere mention adds to the young pol's standing.

Madison and Milwaukee: The cities show their power in Dem politics with big turnouts and 60 percent-plus winning percentages for Obama. Both city mayors -- Tom Barrett in Milwaukee and Dave Cieslewicz in Madison -- back the Illinois senator.

Mixed

Barb Lawton: While Doyle's out stumping for Obama and spurring speculation he might become a member of a possible Obama administration, the lieutenant guv is stumping hard for Clinton. She got attention over the weekend, campaigning with Clinton in Milwaukee. But she also got mixed reviews from insiders for her surrogate efforts and ends up on the losing end, having to defend a lackluster campaign to supporters and election-watchers.

Michael McGee Jr.: The African American Milwaukee alderman leads a nine-way primary field to get into the finals April 1 -- from jail. The controversial figure is facing a variety of state and federal charges. That apparently doesn't faze constituents who may seem him as a victim of racial prosecution, but critics say it gives the city a black eye. He'll face Milele Coggs, niece of state Sen. Spencer Coggs; she finished second Tuesday to McGee. In the meantime, insiders are calling him the favorite based on his showing Tuesday. But even if he wins in April he might have to vacate the office if convicted.

Falling

Hillary Clinton: Wisconsin should have been be an ideal place for Clinton to take on Obama, but instead a blowout loss allows Obama to gain more momentum going into Ohio and Texas. Insiders debated all week why she didn't hit the state harder and why her campaign sent mixed messages about Wisconsin's importance. The answer seems to lie in a national strategy to save resources and test negative messages for the March 4 contests, instead relying on AFSCME and the American Federation of Teachers. When the history of the campaign is written, many insiders predict the Clinton campaign's Wisconsin effort will be seen as a strategic mistake.

Mike Huckabee: The former Arkansas guv charmed Wisconsin crowds in a campaign that featured multiple stops. But he drew 37 percent of the primary vote and wins two congressional districts in the state -- the 3rd in western Wisconsin and the 7th in northern Wisconsin. That means he picks up just six delegates from the state as he falls further behind in the delegate count. Tuesday's loss also finishes him in the eyes of leading Republicans and pundits -- especially after many had considered him done a week ago and started calling on him to drop out. If he doesn't drop out soon, that veep talk will go away in a hurry, insiders predict.

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 5:31 PM 

Lee says series of factors helped McGee

MILWAUKEE -- A series of factors, including name recognition and a small cluster of voters with a "rebellious" nature, are likely why Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr. won Tuesday's primary even though he was in jail for the campaign, says UW-Milwaukee governmental affairs Professor Mordecai Lee.

In a nine-way primary, McGee managed to capture 32 percent of the vote. In second place with 23 percent is Milele Coggs, niece of state Sen. Spencer Coggs. She will advance to the April 1 primary.

Trailing Coggs was former Ald. Fred Gordon, with 17 percent and ViAnna Jordan, with 11 percent.

McGee faces a litany of federal and state charges alleging bribery, extortion, a beating conspiracy, and election law violations.

Lee, a former Dem state lawmaker, said other factors that helped McGee include high voter turnout, good campaign organization and prior contact with voters.

While Lee couldn't recall another case like McGee's win, he pointed to how Boston politician James Curley was re-elected to Congress and elected Boston mayor in the 1940s despite facing a federal felony indictment and going on to serve as mayor while in prison after his conviction.

"There are famous stories of Boston politics, sort of last hurrah stories," Lee said.

However, that case was far different, as Curley was not in jail during the campaign.

Lee said he can't remember a situation where a jailed candidate has ran and won an election because most people qualify for bond when they are charged.

"I think that when we look at the facts of the matter, this is a very different situation," Lee said, adding that McGee's in jail is not because he's been convicted of anything, but because he's been denied bail.

Lee noted that campaign organization and political experience were also factors, pointing to McGee's organization and the strong showing by Gordon, the third-place finisher and former alderman.

"I understand Alderman McGee had a really decent campaign structure independent of the work of the candidate," Lee said. "To a certain extent what the result of the election shows is that campaign organization matters. Even without a candidate, they were able to win the election."

Although some 68 percent did not vote for McGee, Lee says that doesn't mean those votes will add up to a defeat for McGee in the general election because there will be no presidential candidates on the ballot to drive turnout among less involved voters, who tend to vote based on name recognition.

See reaction to the results here.

-- By David Wise

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 5:11 PM 

Supreme Court race heats up with TV ad

The liberal-leaning Greater Wisconsin Committee today fired the first shot on TV in this spring's Supreme Court race with an negative ad suggesting challenger Michael Gableman used a campaign donation to win an appointment to the county bench from former Gov. Scott McCallum.

Meanwhile, the conservative-leaning Wisconsin Club for Growth has reserved TV time for a buy to begin tomorrow.

According to records WisPolitics checked at the four network affiliates in Milwaukee, the GWC buy is for $186,615. It began today and runs through March 4.

A spokeswoman for the group didn't return calls from WisPolitics today.

The spot begins by saying Burnett County needed a judge and a panel recommended local district attorneys for the position. It noted Gableman wasn't picked by the panel, lived more than 290 miles away and missed the application deadline for the appointment. It then claims Gableman held a fundraiser for McCallum a few weeks before the appointment was announced and donated $1,250 to the former governor as well.

"Tell Michael Gableman we need higher ethical standards for our judges," the spot ends.

The CFG buy on the Milwaukee affiliates is for $103,325 and runs Thursday through March 2, according to records WisPolitics checked. A spokesman for the group declined to detail the buy today.

-- By David Wise and JR Ross

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 5:05 PM 

Nearly 48 percent hit the polls in Milwaukee

Turnout for the presidential primary in Milwaukee was 143,949, just shy of 48 percent of registered voters, but lower than was expected.


The city of Milwaukee Election Commission predicted last week that between 150,000 to 175,000 would show up to vote.


Yesterday's turnout, however, tops turnout in the 2004 presidential primary, when 137,362, or 40 percent of registered voters, headed to the polls.


See the turnout and results here.

-- By David Wise

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 3:29 PM 

UPDATE: Pledged delegate count 31-6 for McCain

John McCain has won 31 of the GOP delegates that are being handed out based on yesterday's vote, while Mike Huckabee appears to have won six.

RPW spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said the delegate count won't be official until after a canvass is completed. But Huckabee won the 3rd and 7th congressional districts, based on the unofficial returns, accounting for the six delegates he'll likely take.

Huckabee's edge in the 3rd CD was 808 votes and in the 7th CD it was 71, according to the unofficial returns.

McCain won the other six congressional districts as well as the 13 delegates handed out to the winner of the statewide vote.

There are three uncommitted delegates on the GOP side. All three have endorsed McCain, putting his overall edge at 34-6.

-- By JR Ross

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 3:02 PM 

Kind backing Obama, Kagen holding off

Democratic U.S. Reps. Ron Kind of LaCrosse and Steve Kagen of Appleton each said before Tuesday's Wisconsin presidential primary that they would pledge their super delegate vote to whoever won the most votes in their respective Congressional districts.

Kind released a statement Wednesday saying he would now back Barack Obama after the Illinois senator topped Hillary Clinton in his district. Obama also won Kagen's district, but his office declined to say today who the congressman would support.

A Democratic source familiar with Kagen's plans said the congressman had placed telephone calls to both Clinton and Obama. This source indicated that Kagen was unlikely to publicly endorse either one of the candidates until he had spoken with them personally.

Obama won Kind's district with about 57 percent of the vote.

"Senator Obama's message of change and unity resonated with voters in Wisconsin as it has with voters across the country," Kind said in a statement released by his office. "My constituents overwhelmingly chose Barack Obama to be their nominee, and I am proud to pledge my super-delegate vote to him as well."

Obama won 17 out of the 19 counties included in Kind's seat.

Most Democrats elected to state and federal office are "super delegates," as are a number of Democratic Party activists. They are free to pledge their delegate to whichever Democratic presidential candidate they choose.

U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore and Dave Obey backed Obama prior to Tuesday's primary. U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is backing Clinton.

-- By David M. Drucker

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 2:45 PM 

Feingold, Kohl remain uncommitted

Barack Obama's victory Tuesday over Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin's Democratic presidential primary hasn't generated an endorsement from fellow Democratic U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold of Middleton and Herb Kohl of Milwaukee.

Obama expanded his lead in delegates with Tuesday's win in the Badger State, and is now more firmly viewed as the frontrunner in the race for the Democratic White House nomination than ever before. But perhaps concerned that Clinton might ultimately pull it out, Feingold and Kohl are remaining mum on their preference.

If neither Obama or Clinton manage to win enough Democratic delegates to secure the nomination after all states and U.S. territories have voted, the "super delegate" votes exercised by Feingold, Kohl and others could prove pivotal to deciding who takes on the Republican presidential nominee in November. Most Democrats elected to state and federal office are "super delegates," as are a number of Democratic Party activists. They are free to pledge their delegate to whichever Democratic presidential candidate they choose.

Feingold’' campaign office confirmed Wednesday that the Middleton Democrat has yet to endorse. Kohl's office referred WisPolitics.com to what the Senator said last week in regard to whom he would support for the nomination.

"I want to cast a responsible [super delegate] vote," Kohl said. "It behooves me to see how the process plays itself out yet for a while, so the vote takes into consideration what my state does, it takes into consideration what the rest of the country is doing, it takes into consideration my sizing up of the candidates as the race unfolds. And who might be the best candidate in the fall and who might be the best president."

-- By David M. Drucker

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 12:04 PM 

Results give Obama at least 13-delegate edge in Wisconsin

Preliminary numbers gathered by the Democratic Party of Wisconsin estimate that Barack Obama will receive 42 of the state's 74 delegates awarded based on yesterday's vote. Hillary Clinton will receive 32.

Those delegates were given out proportionately based on the results from the congressional districts as well as the statewide tally.

Wisconsin also has 16 superdelegates, five of those have already pledged their support to Obama. U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, said last week he'd base his decision on who he'll support as a super delegate on the voters of the 8th CD and as "they go, so will I."

Obama won the 8th CD with about 56 percent of the vote.

Clinton has commitments from two of the state's super delegates. If Kagen backs Obama, it would give the Illinois senator a total of 48 delegates from Wisconsin, compared to 34 for Clinton.

Eight uncommitted super delegates remain, and there are two "add-on" delegates that will be selected at the Dem state convention in June. Those delegates also can support whoever they choose.

The DPW will report official delegate counts when the state Government Accountability Board finishes the official election canvass.

Here's the breakdown by Congressional District:

1st CD: 3 Obama, 3 Clinton
2nd CD: 5 Obama, 3 Clinton
3rd CD: 3 Obama, 3 Clinton
4th CD: 4 Obama, 2 Clinton
5th CD: 3 Obama, 2 Clinton
6th CD: 3 Obama, 2 Clinton
7th CD: 3 Obama, 3 Clinton
8th CD: 3 Obama, 3 Clinton


At large delegates: 9 Obama, 7 Clinton

PLEO delegates: 6 Obama, 4 Clinton

See the release from the DPW here.

-- By Staff

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 11:52 AM 

State GOP still sorting out delegate count

Republicans were still trying to figure out this morning if John McCain would win all 37 delegates up for grabs from the returns.

The party awards 13 delegates based on the statewide vote, and McCain nabbed all of those. It also awards three delegates in each of the state's congressional district according to the popular vote in each with the winner taking all three. McCain has won seven of the eight districts, and the party was awaiting final numbers in the 3rd CD to determine the winner there.

Mike Huckabee had a slight lead there with 90 percent of the vote in, according to unofficial returns.

The three uncommitted delegates, who can back whomever they wish, have all endorsed McCain.

-- By JR Ross

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 11:34 AM 

Kind backs Obama after winning 3rd C.D.

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, who had promised to use his super delegate vote to support whichever candidate won his congressional district, has issued a statement verifying that he will support Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention in Denver.

"If our party and our democracy stands for anything, it is that no person, regardless of position or office, should have his or her vote count more than anyone else's," Kind said in a statement of his decision to back his constituents' choice for the nominee. He added that Obama represents "our best chance to break down the partisan barriers that have been building for years."

Obama gained 57 percent of the vote to Hillary Clinton's 43 percent in the district, winning 17 of 19 counties.

-- By Staff

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 12:35 AM 

Obama likely to pick up at least two Wis super delegates

In addition to the delegates he'll win for his performance at the ballot box, Barack Obama should pick up two Dem super delegates from Wisconsin.

U.S. Reps. Ron Kind of La Crosse and Steve Kagen of Appleton have pledged to cast their support for whichever candidate won their districts.

Obama won both districts with about 56 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns.

Wisconsin has 16 super delegates, including the governor, U.S. Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, the five Dem members of the U.S. House and eight DNC members living in Wisconsin.

If Kind and Kagen hold true to their promise, Obama will have six super delegates from Wisconsin, while Clinton will have two.

Obama's would be Gov. Jim Doyle, DNC member Stan Grusynski, and U.S. Reps. Kagen, Kind, Gwen Moore and Dave Obey.

Clinton's are U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and DNC member Tim Sullivan.

-- By JR Ross

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 12:24 AM 

Obama posts wins across board in Wis. counties

Barack Obama rode a simple formula to his big win in Tuesday's primary: He held his own against Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin's rural areas and clobbered her in many of the state's bigger counties.

Dem strategists generally believed going into the primary that Clinton could have a built-in edge over Obama in northern and western Wisconsin, home to more conservative, blue-collar Democrats who tended to support her husband in the 1990s.

But Clinton was only able to post decent wins in a handful of counties, including Adams (53 percent), Burnett (53 percent), Douglas (56 percent) and Forest (56 percent). Less than 30,000 votes were cast in those four counties combined.

In all, she was winning 10 counties, according to unofficial returns.

By comparison, Obama was winning Milwaukee and Dane counties with more than 60 percent of the vote in each. That edge accounted for almost half of his statewide lead over Clinton.

He won Brown County with 56 percent of the vote, La Crosse with almost 58 percent of the vote, Racine with 55 percent of the vote and Rock County with almost 57 percent.

Many Dems believed Obama had a natural edge in Milwaukee County because of its large African American population and saw the potential for UW-Madison students to help deliver Dane County.

But they weren't expecting him to post double-digit wins in places like Grant and Green counties in southwestern Wisconsin. He won more than 58 percent of the vote in each.

He was winning Eau Claire County with 63 percent of the vote and Winnebago County with about 60 percent of the vote. Both are home to UW campuses.

In Walworth County, he had more than 59 percent of the vote. In Vernon, he was at better than 55 percent. In Sauk County it was 58 percent.

In short, he won big, small, urban, rural, black, white, affluent and poor.

The exit polling showed he edged Clinton among those who had been her base: women (51-49), those without degrees (50-48) and whites (53-46).

As of midnight, Obama led Clinton 58 percent to 41 percent, according to unofficial returns.

By comparison, John McCain, who has had the nomination all but wrapped up since shortly after Super Tuesday, was beating Mike Huckabee 55 percent to 37 percent.

It appeared projections that some 1.5 million would turn out Tuesday were close and the highest percentage of the voting age population would turn out since the 1988, when almost 39 percent turned out.

See the statewide results.

-- By JR Ross

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 11:01 PM 

McGee wins primary while in jail, to face Coggs

MILWAUKEE -- Despite being jailed on a litany of federal and state charges alleging bribery, extortion, a beating conspiracy, and election law violations, Milwaukee Ald. Michael McGee Jr. has come out on top in a nine-way primary.

With 96 percent of the vote in, McGee managed to capture 32 percent of the vote despite running his campaign from jail. According to unofficial returns, Milele Coggs, niece of state Sen. Spencer Coggs, was in second place with 23 percent of the vote and will advance to the April 1 general election.

Trailing Coggs was former Ald. Fred Gordon, with 17 percent, and ViAnna Jordan, with 11 percent.

Coggs said her life-long residence and community work accounted for her support.

"I was born and raised in the 6th District and have done a lot of work within the district," Coggs said.

But Coggs said the win didn't come easy.

"I earned those votes," Coggs said. "I knocked on thousands of doors in the blistering cold weather and spoke with the residents and the voters; they obviously liked what they were hearing."

Coggs said she's confident she can win the general election. She said her campaign was never about running against McGee but for the future of the district, which doesn't have physical representation with McGee in jail. He faces a trial later this spring.

Jordan, who led an unsuccessful recall bid against McGee last year, said people do not want an alderman who is in jail and that the results look "suspicious."

"This is not credible; this is a mockery," Jordan said. "Don't ever believe the people here want to dibble dabble in this. Nobody wants a shakedown artist for their alderman."

Jordan did not specify any incidents of fraud.

Several of the charges against McGee allege violations in his defense of the recall attempt.

McGee's campaign could not be reached for comment, and Gordon did not immediately return a call.

-- By David Wise

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 10:43 PM 

Doyle says Wisconsin will decide Dem nominee

Gov. Jim Doyle hailed Barack Obama's state campaign as one of the greatest in state history after today's win, adding that Wisconsin would be the victory to catapult the Illinois senator to the party's nomination.

"It amazes me that it was only one week ago that we were all gathered in the Kohl Center, kicking off in one week what has been one of the great campaigns in the history of the state of Wisconsin," Doyle proclaimed in a speech at the Obama campaign's primary party in downtown Madison. "I believe, when this is all written, that we'll be the state that decided who the next Democratic nominee will be, and who the next president of the United States will be: Barack Obama."

Doyle thanked the Obama campaign for not only running an effective campaign, but for cooperating with state and local political leaders and activists. While national campaigns generally have spats in local elections, Doyle said, "We did not have one of those with the Barack Obama campaign."

"This is a candidate who did not take us for granted," Doyle said in thanking Obama. "He came to Wisconsin and spent five days of the last seven days in this state ... this was a campaign that came through this state and inspired so many people."

Speaking with reporters after his speech, Doyle said Obama's broad victory meant Hillary Clinton was in trouble.

"I think it's very hard for her to go on; I know she will," Doyle said. "When these two candidates get engaged with one another and the campaign is on, state after state after state Barack Obama wins."

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz introduced Doyle at the celebration and projected that the state Assembly would flip to the Democrats with Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket. He also noted that Rep. Spencer Black told him that the votes on the UW-Madison campus were "something like 10-to-1 for Obama."

"For a complete term and a little bit more, Jim Doyle was the only person standing between us and some really right-wing policies coming out of the Wisconsin Legislature," Cieslewicz said. "Imagine what Jim Doyle can do when he's got a Democratic majority in both houses. Barack Obama can get that for us."

Listen to Doyle's speech

Listen to Doyle talking with reporters

Hear Mayor Cieslewicz's introduction

-- By Andy Szal

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 9:54 PM 

Clinton backers downplay loss


Hillary Clinton's supporters tried to shrug off the Wisconsin loss and look ahead to the March 4 states of Texas and Ohio.

Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said despite being outspent, Clinton "ran a strong campaign in Wisconsin."

"She gave us a lot of time and a lot of great surrogates and fabulous staff, and they did a terrific job," Lawton said.

Some had questioned why Clinton didn't campaign harder here, and some Dems believe her campaign sent mixed messages about how important Wisconsin was.

But Lawton said Wisconsin is "not a decisive state" and a national campaign has to make decisions about resource allocation. The real prizes lie ahead in Texas and Ohio, she said.

Lawton said the candidate that emerges from the primary will be tested and ready to win the fall election.

Listen to an interview with Lawton.

Dane Co. Exec. Kathleen Falk told supporters the race is far from over.

"Look at the big scheme of things here, we are about dead even in delegates," Falk said. "It is a darn close race. We worked very hard here, and I'm very proud and grateful for everyone in this building. And we know over the next couple of weeks two big states are coming up, Texas and Ohio, and we know those are states where people are hungry for health insurance, they are hungry for jobs, and we know Senator Clinton has spent 35 years working for kids and working families."

State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, said wins in either of the March 4 states or Pennsylvania will turn the tide.

"If you look at the big states coming up, a win for Senator Clinton in any one of those stops any momentum Senator Obama has out there," Erpenbach said.



DPW chair Joe Wineke, who initially supported John Edwards in the race but hasn't picked a new candidate, said he "came very close" to picking a candidate about a week ago, then decided it would be better "to keep Humpty Dumpty together in case it started to blow up. And as you can guess in the last week we've seen signs of tearing, and one of my roles is going to have to be to keep everybody together."

Wineke, who stopped by the Obama party at the Great Dane Pub before appearing at the Clinton gathering, took a shot at Republicans for their lower turnout for the primary, and presumptive GOP nominee John McCain.

"We have two exceptional candidates that people are getting excited about and the Republicans have basically centered on John McCain who appears to not be the John McCain of the 'Straight Talk Express' but seems to be the John McCain of a third term for George Bush, I just don't see any excitement on the Republican side," Wineke said. "These guys get 250 or 500 people at an event, and we get 5,000 to 20,000."

The results here are a result of Obama outspending Clinton in media and the momentum of Obama's campaign, especially with young voters, Wineke said. Another factor, he said, were reports last week in the national media that Clinton was writing off Wisconsin.

"It's really hard in that circumstance to be competitive, yet I think most pundits and I think even people in the Obama campaign from everything I was hearing thought that Senator Clinton was closing in the end," he said. "From the results, it appears she didn't close nearly enough."

Still, Wineke says there won't be a huge differential in delegates allocated.

"Say for example this thing goes 55 (percent to) 45 (percent), where it appears it's going to be in that range, do you want to disenfranchise that other 45 percent?" he said. "If you make them proportional, maybe one candidate gets a few more delegates than the other, but maybe that's the way it's supposed to be."

If Clinton doesn't win in Ohio and Texas, he said, the argument about delegates and super delegates will be moot, he said.

"I just don't see how Senator Obama would be denied the nomination," Wineke said. "Now if Senator Clinton wins those states, whole new game."

Listen to an interview with Wineke.

-- By Greg Bump

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 9:43 PM 

Huckabee supporters refusing to concede

PEWAUKEE -- Mike Huckabee's supporters refused to concede defeat until all the returns are in, despite early calls that John McCain would take the primary.

Ryan Kierman, 16, of Concord expressed surprise when he learned that McCain was projected to win.

"I actually thought that (Huckabee) would do really well here," Kierman said. He was a little disappointed that Huckabee did not attend the election watch.

John Miglautsch of Hartland was not paying much attention to the acceptance speeches because, "There were no results in when he (McCain) started."

The 53-year-old said if he votes for John McCain, he will do as a friend suggested: "I'll just hold my nose."

Dave Poglitsch shrugged as he said, "I'll wait 'til everything is all counted in."

The 46-year-old Brookfield resident is tuning everything out until all the results are in.

Poglitsch says that he will wait and see what Huckabee says about McCain before he decides who he will vote for.

Starie Thompson, 29, of Milwaukee says that this election is "following the same patterns as the rest of the race" by announcing a winner before all the votes are tabulated.

Thompson has not decided whether to vote for McCain because she is still rooting for "Mike."

Tessa Fitzsimmons, 5, began to cry when she found out that Huckabee lost.

At the end of the election watch the two dozen supporters crowd began to cheer on Huckabee and chant "We like Mike" for the reporters.

-- By Samantha Hernandez

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 9:21 PM 

McCain backers hoping for Clinton

WEST ALLIS -- The Republican watch party at Milwaukee County Exec. Scott Walker's campaign headquarters is winding down following McCain's victory speech.

Reaction was muted from the crowd of about 30, but they did cheer when McCain discussed how he wants to deal with Cuba following the resignation of Fidel Castro.

Milwaukee County Republican Party Chair David Karst said he wasn't surprised few came out tonight.

"There's no contest," Karst said, noting that the race has essentially been decided for the last several weeks.

RPW Chair Reince Priebus said tonight's results were not surprising and called for unity among Wisconsin Republicans.

"We're not surprised; obviously the winds been at McCain's back for a couple of weeks," Priebus said.

Priebus complemented Huckabee for running a "tough race" and working hard in Wisconsin.

"He worked hard in the state of Wisconsin, and now we have to build this party," Priebus said. "We've got to unite our party, bring the Huckabee people over to John McCain's side and work for who looks to be our eventual nominee."

Preibus described division in the GOP about McCain as "two weeks ago's news."

"I think John McCain is poised to win in November, and I think he's the Democrats' worst nightmare," Priebus said.

With the Republican nomination all but locked up, some of those expressed interest in how the Democratic nomination contest was shaping up.

UW-Milwaukee student Mark Zeihen, 18, said he'd prefer to see Clinton win the nomination.

"She'd be an easier opponent for us," Zeihen.

Zeihen said he voted for McCain today, who he described as a "strong candidate."

Zeihen said he is most impressed with McCain's plan to improve the economy, which would help solve other problems.

Marilyn Krichell, 70, of West Allis, said she is fully behind McCain because of his stance on the war on terror and the Iraq war.

"I don't want people who are talking about getting out of Iraq without winning," Krichell said.

She also said she'd prefer Clinton to get the Democratic nomination.

"We know who she is, we know what she's done," Krichell said.

Luonne Dumak, 72, of New Berlin, also said she'd rather see Clinton win the primary.

While she said she wants McCain to win the election, she said that if he lost in November that Clinton would be a better president than Obama.

She said she feared that Obama would be too reluctant to use military force and invite attack and that Clinton has more experience and would be "tough."

"Obama's too dangerous for this country, he has no experience," Dumak said.

-- By David Wise

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 9:13 PM 

More exit polling from tonight about McCain

An article on CNN.com reports that exit polling showed John McCain struggled with voters considering themselves "very conservative."

Yet, the exit polls show that McCain received strong support from moderates who considered themselves "somewhat conservative."

The polling also showed that McCain supporters were slightly more concerned about the war in Iraq than the economy.

McCain's main rival, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, got much of his support from conservatives and evangelical voters.

See the article here

-- By Staff

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 9:10 PM 

Wisconsin win has McCain talking like nominee

John McCain started talking like the GOP nominee and not just the party's frontrunner for president tonight at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, following his win in Wisconsin.

While others have talked of the nomination over the last week as a done deal for McCain, he avoided doing so while visiting Wisconsin. But not any longer.

"And thank you, Wisconsin, for bringing us to the point when even a superstitious naval aviator can claim with confidence and humility that I will be our party's nominee for president," McCain said. "I promise you, I will wage a campaign with determination, passion and the right ideas for strengthening our country that prove worthy of the honor and responsibility you have given me."

McCain made a series of swipes at Barack Obama without mentioning him by name, saying he will fight "to make sure Americans are not deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change."

McCain said that American voters can go with an experienced candidate, or "will we risk the confused leadership of an inexperienced candidate who once suggested invading our ally, Pakistan, and sitting down without pre-conditions or clear purpose with enemies who support terrorists and are intent on destabilizing the world by acquiring nuclear weapons?"

McCain did briefly recognize former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, but more as a colleague than a real challenger.

"I, again, want to commend Governor Huckabee, who has shown impressive grit and passion himself, and whom, though he remains my opponent, I have come to admire very much," McCain said.

See the whole speech here

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 9:01 PM 

Clinton pushes action, not words

Shortly after the national media called Wisconsin's Dem primary for Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton promised supporters in Youngtown, Ohio, that she would back up her words with action as president.

She criticized Obama's focus on style over substance and speeches over solutions.

"This election is about picking a president who relies not on words but on hard work to get Americans to work," said Clinton. "Words are important, but the best words aren't enough unless you match them with action."

She also drew distinctions between herself and Obama on issues of foreign policy experience, health care, the economy, and preparedness for the job on day one.

Clinton also targeted Republicans, saying that working-class people couldn't stand another four years with a president who does not see or hear them.

-- By Matt Steingraber

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 8:55 PM 

Obama thanks Wisconsin

Barack Obama praised Wisconsinites for their "extraordinary civic pride" as he celebrated his win here at a rally in Houston.

Obama said he was grateful for the state's friendship and support.

"In Wisconsin, when you go to vote, it's 5 degrees outside," Obama told the crowd. "But that does not deter people from Milwaukee to Green Bay to Eau Claire, all across that state, from casting their ballots and exercising their civic duty."

Obama spoke to the crowd of an urgency to change the way things are done in Washington, D.C., and improve the national economy, slipping into his usual stump speech about bringing the country together.

Obama said his leap of faith to run for president has been vindicated by the American people shortly before the crowd broke into chants of "Yes, we can."

"The question I have for you tonight, Houston, is: Are you really ready for change?" Obama said.

Obama had a couple of shots for GOP frontrunner John McCain, too.

While saying he admires McCain as a true American hero, he criticized him for supporting President Bush's "failed economic policies" and his statements that U.S. troops could be in Iraq for another 100 years.

"He represents the policies of yesterday, and we want to be the party of tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to having that debate with John McCain," he said.

-- By JR Ross

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 8:54 PM 

Update on exit polls

The Drudge Report has some new exit polling on Obama posted.

Obama Won:
Women (51-49)
All age groups under 65
All education levels
All regions of the state -- urban, suburban and rural
Voters without college degrees (50-48)
Democrats (50-49)
Whites (53-46)
White men (59-38)
Voters who decided in the last week (58-42)

Won or tied voters of all income levels
Tied among white women
Tied among union members
Tied among union households

ABC News also has a story on exit polling, including showing gains by Obama by independent voters, here

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 8:27 PM 

Doyle says Wisconsin embraced Obama's message

Gov. Jim Doyle, appearing on MSNBC, said Wisconsin responded to Barack Obama's message of change and his focus on middle class issues.

"I haven't seen such excitement like that since maybe when Eugene McCarthy knocked Lyndon Johnson out of the race here a long time ago," Doyle said, referring to the 1968 race.

Exit polling showing more Dem primary voters felt Hillary Clinton unfairly attacked Obama than the other way around. Doyle said Clinton's last line of attack accusing Obama of plagiarism "looked trivial" to voters here.

"People really get down to what the issues are here, and clearly people are very hungry for change," Doyle said.

-- By Staff

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 8:10 PM 

Huckabee supporters upbeat despite news

PEWAUKEE -- Mike Huckabee's supporters didn't show much reaction to the national networks' early call that John McCain had gone for Wisconsin.

But many had a good excuse; they were busy doing media interviews.

A small crowd of just more than a dozen gathered here to watch returns. After the news broke, some supporters cracked jokes about the call.

Chris Lambrecht of Waukesha was upbeat despite the low numbers. He attributed his positive attitude to Huckabee.

The 19 year-old Lambrecht is proud that "Huckabee didn't run a negative campaign."

Joel Kluender, 37, of Hartland has seen the exit polls, but said, "Exit polls can be wrong."

Kluender continued, "We don't know what will happen with the candidates. McCain could still say something stupid."

He voted for Huckabee because of this strong pro-life stance and the Fair Tax bill.

-- By Samantha Hernandez

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 7:59 PM 

Milwaukee-area Republicans gather to watch returns

Republicans are starting to gather at Scott Walker's campaign headquarters in West Allis to watch the GOP primary returns.

With no primary for the county executive, Walker isn't present. However, he had a party here from 6 to 8 p.m. for campaign volunteers.

With McCain having his official election night party in Columbus, Ohio, the party in Milwaukee is serving as a de facto McCain victory party.

When a television reporter asked to speak to a Huckabee supporter, GOP volunteers there said they couldn't find one.

Huckabee's watch party is being held in Waukesha.

The 4th C.D. Republican Party Chair Bob Spindell, who also serves as a city of Milwaukee election commissioner, said that the polls in the University of Milwaukee area still had lines at polling places going outside the door 7:15 p.m., and polling places around Marquette University had high turnout. Spindell said that college students will definitely have an impact on the primary tonight.

-- By David Wise

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 7:35 PM 

Return watch parties starting up

MADISON -- It's about a half hour before the returns come in, and the watch party for Clinton at the The Stadium Bar has yet to get off the ground.

Marquee guests Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton and Dane Co. Exec. Kathleen Falk have yet to show, and so far media members outnumber those with Hillary t-shirts 2-to-1.

Those who are here are watching MSNBC or the Indiana-Purdue basketball game playing on the bar's many TV screens.

Barack Obama supporters are beginning to crowd the Great Dane Pub near downtown.

The crowd is primarily younger, with one supporter keeping track of the results on a laptop. The TVs in the bar are tuned to CNN counting down the final minutes until polls close, and a stage is set up in the corner for speeches.

Obama supporters Sen. Bob Jauch of Poplar and Rep. Gary Sherman of Port Wing are in attendance. But there is no sign yet of Gov. Jim Doyle, who is scheduled to appear later.

-- By Greg Bump and Andy Szal

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 7:27 PM 

Voter turnout high

As the polls are closing around the state, here's a snapshot of some of the city clerks' estimates around the state for voter turnout.

Milwaukee election commissioner Sue Edman wouldn't guess voter turnout, but said "Oh my gosh ... it's been busy all day ... a lot of activity."

Edmond said there has been a lot of new voter registration, and several wards requested additional ballots.

The Madison city clerk's office said it expects around a 40 percent turnout and "everything is going very well."

The Beloit city clerk's office could only offer a guess of 50 percent voter turnout, saying "it's been a very busy day." One ward requested extra ballots.

Janesville City Clerk Jean Wulf said she guesses voter turnout was around 40 percent, and she had to move some ballots around to different polling places.

The La Crosse city clerk's office said the turnout felt like it was around 40 percent and say "very heavy registration."

-- By Matt Dolbey

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 5:57 PM 

Trade campaign says both Dem contenders oppose three trade agreements

The Citizens Trade Campaign says it has responses from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that show -- for the first time -- both of them oppose three pending trade agreements with Panama, Columbia and South Korea.

Andy Gussert, national director of the Citizens Trade Campaign, said they were dramatic shifts from past positions on trade and credits the changes to the Wisconsin electorate.

He also said the two have "incredibly strong statements" about replacing the fast track process on trade.

That's based on a survey response from Clinton, a letter from Obama and a questionaire response from Obama.

-- By JR Ross

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 5:15 PM 

Turnout projections appear on target

State Government Accountability Board Elections Division legal counsel Kevin Kennedy said this afternoon he expects voter turnout to meet the predicted 35 percent total.

Kennedy said clerks in Kenosha County told him they have been very busy, and he heard similar results from clerks in Dane and Milwaukee counties.

"I still think we'll have 1.5 million voters when it's all said and done, but I've got nothing to base that on until all the numbers are in," he said.

-- By Staff

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 5:04 PM 

Obama campaign emails raise question about student registration

A diary entry on a national Web site calls into question emails from the Obama campaign telling voters they can register at the polls with a college ID.

A poster on the site DailyKos says the emails were erroneous. But the fact is that in some cases, a student ID will suffice as proof of residency, according to state statutes.

In some cases, such as at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Edgewood College in Madison, lists are provided to pollworkers with names and addresses of enrolled students, said Dane County Clerk Bob Ohlsen. With those lists, a college-issued ID is sufficent for proof of residence and registration.

See the email from Barack Obama
See the email from Michelle Obama

See details on same-day registration requirements from the state Government Accountability Board.


-- By Staff

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 3:38 PM 

Milwaukee students turning out in big numbers

The potential for student votes to deeply impact the Wisconsin primary seems to be taking shape in Milwaukee, where City Election Commission Executive Director Sue Edman said turnout has been steadily busy at UW-Milwaukee, Milwaukee School of Engineering, and Marquette University.

The Dane County Clerk's office will not begin collecting data on the participation of the state's largest campus, UW-Madison, until later in the day according to County Clerk Bob Ohlsen.

-- By Staff

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 1:57 PM 

Delegate breakdown

Here's a primer on the delegates at stake today in Wisconsin:

Wisconsin Dems have 92 delegates, while Republicans have 40.

Twenty-four of the GOP delegates will be awarded according to the vote totals in each of Wisconsin's eight congressional districts. The winner of the district vote will get all three of the delegates for the September convention.

Thirteen are at-large delegates and will be awarded to whoever wins the popular vote in the state.

The remaining three are GOP National Committeewoman Mary Buestrin, National Committeeman Steve King and state Chair Reince Priebus. They are allowed to back whomever they choose, though all three have endorsed John McCain.

For the Democrats, 48 delegates are awarded based on votes in the congressional districts.

The eight districts have between five and eight delegates each based on Dem turnout in past elections, and the district delegates are divided up proportionally according to the vote in each district.

Sixteen are considered "super delegates" that are uncommitted. They include Gov. Jim Doyle, Dem Sens. Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl, the five Dem members of the House and the eight DNC members living in Wisconsin.

Obama has the backing of four super delegates: Doyle, U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore and Dave Obey, and DNC member Stan Gruszynski. Clinton is backed by two: U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and DNC member Tim Sullivan.

Another two uncommitted delegates, called add-ons, will be selected at the June state convention.

The Dem Party's administrative committee will also pick 10 party leaders and elected officials to serve as delegates with preference given to mayors of large cities, legislative leaders and lawmakers. They are divided up among the presidential candidates proportionally based on the statewide vote.

Sixteen at-large delegates will also be chosen by the administrative committee at the convention. They also will be divided up among presidential candidates proportionally on the statewide totals.

The party has diversity goals for the delegation of alternates that the administrative committee considers in selecting delegates

-- By JR Ross

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 1:09 PM 

Early turnout mixed for key counties

The three largest counties for Democratic primary turnout from four years ago have had mixed results from morning voting, according to local election officials.

Dane County Clerk Bob Ohlsen said that the county was at 10 percent turnout as of 11 a.m., but that weather was a factor in the relatively low turnout. Ohlsen had projected as much as a 60 percent turnout last week.

"I would have thought it would have been a little more," Ohlsen said of the morning vote, before adding that he expected things to pick up this afternoon.

"You kill yourself trying to guess, and you're never right," Ohlsen said.

Milwaukee Election Commission Executive Director Sue Edman said that turnout in the state's largest city has ranged from "steady" to "busy" at polling sites.

"We're seeing a lot of activity" on the city's east side and near university campuses. At other locations, she said voting has not contributed to any lines yet.

Waukesha Municipal Clerk Tom Neill described turnout as "average" thus far. He said his office was holding to a 40 percent turnout projection.

-- By Andy Szal

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 12:30 PM 

Clinton mailer blasts Obama "present" votes

The Clinton campaign has tested negative messages in Wisconsin on TV and in the mail as it seeks to blunt Barack Obama's momentum in the Badger State and beyond.

Gov. Jim Doyle, a big Obama supporter, went after Clinton's health care mailer on Sunday. (See this previous blog item.)

Another Clinton campaign mailer that popped up in Wisconsin mail boxes over the weekend knocks Obama for voting "present" in the Illinois Legislature on seven key issues. They range from "the managed care patients rights act" in 1999 to the "energy resources policy act" in 2001.

One side of the mailer says: "Illinois State Legislators can vote 'present.' But a President has to make the toughest 'yes' or 'no' decisions in the world."

The flip side features a listing of Obama votes with the seven "present" votes highlighted and says: "Where does Barack Obama stand? 129 times on critical issues Barack Obama wouldn't take a stand -- instead he voted 'present.' Not 'yes' or 'no' -- but 'present' ... A President Can't Vote 'Present.'"

A call to the Obama campaign seeking comment today was not immediately returned.

-- By Staff

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 12:04 PM 

McCain says GOP voters won't be crossing over

Following a campaign rally in Brookfield this morning, GOP frontrunner John McCain dismissed talk that his party's voters today would cross over to prop up a Democrat he'd fare better against in the fall election.

"Generally speaking, with very few exceptions, party voters go to the polls to vote for their party leader; they're not that complicated, in general," McCain said. "There's always the theory that they will be, but I'm happy to say that these past few primaries people have just gone to select the candidate from their party."

McCain noted that he is winning a "good percentage" of independent voters, who he said most expected to vote in the most contested race.

McCain said this shows these people recognize that the Republican primary is not over yet.

Despite the fact Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul are still in the race, McCain's nomination is likely and he's won key endorsements, including those of former President George H.W. Bush and Mitt Romney.

McCain said he hasn't thought about whether it would be more difficult to face Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama and that he's focused on winning the nomination.

"I've see more than one campaign take a lot for granted that they shouldn't have, maybe even including my own," McCain said, whose campaign was essentially declared dead earlier last year.

Before a crowd of a few hundred at the Sheraton Hotel in Brookfield, McCain said Wisconsin will be a key swing state in the general election and pledged to return to campaign and win the state this fall.

McCain called for party unity.

"We need to unite our party," McCain said, adding that he will be up against a "tough" candidate no matter who wins the Democratic nomination.

McCain said he respects Huckabee's right to remain in the campaign, and expressed thanks and respect for those who already dropped out of the race.

Several Ron Paul supporters were in the audience at the rally, a "Ron Paul Revolution" limo was parked out front. Recognizing them in the audience, McCain thanked the Paul supporters for always being "very polite" at his rallies and for their dedication to their candidate. "He's ran a very tough and very interesting race to say the least," McCain said of Paul.

The bulk of McCain's speech echoed others he's given in Wisconsin over the last week, with him pledging to veto any bill containing earmarks, make the Bush tax cuts permanent, improve veterans' healthcare, continue the fight against global terror and win in Iraq so American troops "can come home with honor."

Behind McCain stood about 70 college-aged supporters, some wearing Marquette University clothing. One carried a sign reading "Favre 4 VP."

Listen to McCain's speech here
-- By David Wise

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 10:42 AM 

The campaigns are calling

The robocalls have kicked in for the final stretch of the campaign.

On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign hit likely voters with a message stressing the economy, health care for all and affordable higher education.

In the call, Hillary Clinton said as president she'll bring 35 years of experience "solving big problems and bringing real change."

Added Clinton: "I will stand up for you and bring real solutions to America starting Day 1. ... It's going to be close and I need your help."

Obama's campaign sent out robocalls Monday in which the senator urged listeners to join him in ending the war in Iraq, passing universal health care and "building an economy that works for everyone."

"The time is now for real change in America," Obama says in the call.

He reminded listeners of the poll hours, directed them to his Web site and mentioned his voter hotline.

"Let's go change the world," he says.

On Monday, calls went to American Federation of Teachers members. AFT President Edward McElroy said he wanted union members "to be sure you hear this important message from our good friend."

Hillary Clinton then told listeners that "together we can make the changes in public education, health care and the economy that will improve the lives of working families and strengthen our communities and country."

National AFT has been putting a lot of resources into Wisconsin, doing robocalls, mailers and radio ads promoting Clinton's candidacy.

Mike Huckabee sent an e-mail to supporters yesterday detailing efforts of his "Huckabee Rangers" to complete almost 26,000 "voter contact calls" to Wisconsin voters before 9 p.m. yesterday.

-- By Staff

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 9:48 AM 

McCain last to make campaign stop here

John McCain has a campaign stop scheduled this morning in Brookfield. Otherwise, the rest of the top presidential contenders have turned their attention elsewhere.

The Clinton campaign had stops scheduled for Chelsea Clinton today in Madison at a downtown neighborhood center with Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk and at the UW-Oshkosh campus.

The Clinton, Huckabee and Obama campaigns also all have watch parties scheduled for tonight around Wisconsin.

Check the WisPolitics calendar for more details.

-- By Staff

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 9:30 AM 

Obama, McCain lead in new ARG poll

The latest survey from the American Research Group has Barack Obama leading Hillary Clinton after she had the edge in the previous two polls it did, including one that was completed just two days ago.

In the latest poll, done Feb. 17-18, 52 percent of respondents supported Obama, compared to 42 who backed Clinton.

The previous poll, done Feb. 15-16, had Clinton up 49-43.

On the GOP side, John McCain was backed by 51 percent of respondents, compared to 43 percent for Huckabee.

The previous poll had McCain up 46-42.

ARG surveyed 600 randomly selected likely voters in each poll. The Dem survey included 407 Dems and 193 independents and Republicans. The GOP survey includded 433 Republicans and 167 independents and Dems.

Each had a margin of error or plus or minus 4 percentage points.

-- By JR Ross

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 9:06 AM 

Vice President Paul Ryan?

Congressman Paul Ryan's name is circulating as a possible second-tier veep choice for presumptive GOP prez nominee John McCain.

Ryan, 38, of Janesville, first elected in 1998, is often lauded as a rising young conservative with a big future in D.C.

But while he's sometimes been seen as a possible future speaker, prez running mate is quite another thing.

Conservative columnist Robert Novak, on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, uttered Ryan's name to a national audience.

MR. NOVAK: One would be former Congressman, former special trade, U.S. trade representative, former budget director Rob Portman. I think he would be an excellent...

MR. RUSSERT: From Ohio.

MR. NOVAK: From Ohio. Another one would be a younger congressman, ranking Republican on the Budget Committee and a tax cutter, Paul Ryan. Somebody like that who would, who would be younger than McCain, which isn't hard to find, and, and somebody who would be much more regular on taxes than McCain has been.

See the full transcript, page 6, here.

Why Ryan? In addition to his age and tax-cutting reputation, Ryan is from a traditionally swing district in a Midwestern swing state, is an avid hunter and joins McCain in bashing congressional pork.

Why not Ryan? He's from the Congress, just like McCain.

That's why most attention has focused on Republicans with guv experience from key regions: Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Charlie Crist of Florida, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota.

WTMJ-AM conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes brought it up to Ryan on Friday. Said Ryan: "Flattering ... But I really don't think about it."

-- By Staff

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Monday, February 18, 2008

 10:39 PM 

Clinton urges crowd to treat primary like job interview

Hillary Clinton told a crowd Monday night Americans don't need another president they can "have a beer with," urging them instead to approach Tuesday's Wisconsin primary like it was a job interview.

"What Senator Obama and I are asking you to do is consider hiring one of us for the toughest job in the world," Clinton told a capacity crowd in the Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace, where she spoke one day after originally planned because of a weather delay. "Think about who you would hire to do this job."

Clinton continued to try to draw contrasts between herself and Barack Obama over healthcare.

She walked out onto the stage with state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, who led an effort to create a universal health care plan for Wisconsin, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who serves on the campaign's Health Care Policy Task Force.

Clinton told her audience that the country would never be fair if anyone was left uncovered and that she would open up the congressional health care plan to the American public. She has criticized Obama's health care plan, saying it would leave 15 million Americans uninsured.

"I am passionately committed to universal health care. Senator Obama is not," Clinton said. "I am not running for president to put Band-Aids on our problems."

She said she looked forward to taking on special interests in her health care fight, calling her 1993 health care battle a "badge of honor."

Clinton also asked the crowd not to be swayed by speeches and rhetoric.

"We don't need a leap of faith," Clinton said. "We don't need to have a beer with the next president. We already have that president."

Clinton also talked about education, global warming, economic development and the federal tax system. She promised to end the "unfunded mandate" of the No Child Left Behind Act and return to direct lending to alleviate excessive student loan interest rates. She also promised to create a "strategic energy fund" by taking tax subsidies away from oil companies and to lead the world in a new post-Kyoto environmental agreement.

"This election is not about who's up and who's down," Clinton said. "It's time we started setting big goals again."



Clinton concluded her 40-minute speech with a discussion of Iraq. She said she would ask the defense secretary and her advisers to begin developing a plan for removing troops on her first day in office, but stressed "there are no good options" for American interests in Iraq.

"As we withdraw our troops, we're going to be telling the Iraqi government, 'Time's up,'" Clinton said, before adding, "There is no military solution."

Security personnel escorted one protester out of the hall after he yelled during the speech and held up signs protesting the Iraq War. The event also attracted four sign-bearing Ron Paul supporters outside the Terrace.

Listen to the speech here.

-- By Andy Szal

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 9:26 PM 

McCain swipes at Dems at GOP dinner

APPLETON -- Fresh off the endorsement of President George H.W. Bush, GOP frontrunner John McCain told a crowd of party faithful in Appleton Monday night "the best times are ahead" and swiped at Democrats on a series of issues.

Speaking to the Outagamie County GOP's Lincoln Day Dinner, McCain condemned the Democratic Congress for leaving domestic surveillance legislation unfinished, while bashing Democratic positions on the war on terror.

He promised to follow Osama bin Laden "to the gates of Hell" if necessary to track him down and drew applause for his comments on border control and his boast that in 24 years as a lawmaker, he has never requested a single earmark.

"What do we want?" he asked, "A bridge to nowhere, or a tax credit for every child in America of $1,000?"

About 500 people paid the $35 each to attend Monday's dinner that included the likes of former GOP state Treasurer Jack Voight, who introduced McCain; state Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah; former GOP Assembly Speaker John Gard; and Congressman Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac.

McCain has been working to solidify his support among the party's conservative wing since all but sewing up the party's nomination. Each of the lawmakers at Monday's dinner praised McCain.

Gard, who McCain called "the future of our Republican Party," said the Arizona senator was "very conservative."

"I believe that, or I wouldn't support him," said Gard, who is challenging Dem U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton. McCain campaigned for Gard in the 8th CD two years ago during his first race against Kagen.

Many in the GOP establishment have called for Mike Huckabee to drop out of the race for president, arguing he has no shot to overtake McCain for the nomination. But McCain told the crowd, "I respect his desire."

"He, like me, wasn't given much of a chance at one time or another," said McCain, who many had written off last year amid a campaign shakeup.

McCain was talking to the crowd about how Wisconsin is known for its fiscal responsibility and clean government just before a protester near the exit shouted, "What about the Keating Five?"

"Thank you, sir," replied McCain, "I'm glad you paid for your ticket."

The young man was pulled out the door as he claimed the 9/11 terror attacks were "an inside job."

Listen to Pt. 1 of McCain's speech, including introductions by state Sen. Mike Ellis and John Gard here.

Listen to Pt. 2 of McCain's speech here.

-- By Jeff Decker

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 5:18 PM 

Huckabee urges supporters to 'shock the nation'



APPLETON -- Mike Huckabee urged nearly 200 supporters in Appleton this afternoon to "shock the nation" by delivering a surprise win for his campaign in Tuesday's primary election.

Huckabee was introduced by Wisconsin campaign manager Tim Michels, who reminded supporters, "There is an election tomorrow, despite what some of the pundits have to say!"

Huckabee highlighted his record as governor of Arkansas to assert he's the only person in the race who has executive experience, is a Washington outsider and is 100 percent anti-abortion.

The fact that he's a distant second behind John McCain for the Republican nomination shouldn't matter, he says. No one should mind a prolonged fight for the nomination, either.

"Nobody has 1,191 delegates. This well could go all the way to the convention," he said.

"Why would we be so afraid that we don't want the people of America to actually pick their candidate?"

The eyes of the nation are on Wisconsin, the candidate noted, but the media coverage is on the Democratic primary. Indeed, only six television cameras focused on his speech, plus a handful of other reporters.

"If, tomorrow, John McCain ends up winning in Wisconsin, you will get a brief mention on the evening news. If, on the other hand, you guys go out and we win tomorrow, then for two hours the talking heads will be saying, 'We just can't figure this out. What went on in Wisconsin?' Don't you just love it when you can do that to the media?" he said.

A mobilized conservative base voting for the most conservative candidate could mean that win. "If, for some reason, you've decided you're not voting for me, my request is: stay home tomorrow," he smiled.

Huckabee zigzagged Wisconsin in the push before Tuesday's primary. Sunday night he spoke in Milwaukee and navigated bitter storms Monday starting in Hudson and Eau Claire before ending his campaign day in Appleton.

Every Wisconsinite and every American would benefit once he's the 44th president, Huckabee said.

"We need to implement the fair tax, and we need to kill the IRS before it kills our small businesses in Wisconsin!" he said.

Listen to audio of Huckabee's speech here.

-- By Jeff Decker

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 5:02 PM 

Obama campaign Milwaukee watch party set

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore and Mayor Tom Barrett will be in attendance for the Obama campaign's primary night event in Milwaukee, scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bar Louie.

Gov. Doyle will attend a previously-announced event at the Great Dane in downtown Madison.

-- By Staff

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 4:25 PM 

Huckabee election night party in Waukesha

Mike Huckabee supporters will gather at the Country Inn and Springs in Waukesha tomorrow to watch election results.

Details of a watch party for John McCain are not yet available. Neither Republican candidate will be in the state tomorrow night.

In other watch party news, the Milwaukee County GOP and student Republican groups from UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University will watch results at the campaign headquarters of Milwaukee Co. Exec. Scott Walker in West Allis.

UW-Madison Republicans will hold a watch party at The Nitty Gritty downtown.

The Eau Claire County GOP and UW-Eau Claire student Republicans will gather at the Best Western there.

And UW-Whitewater Republicans will have a watch party at the Down Under Restaurant at the University Center.

See more in a press release from the RPW.

-- By Staff

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 4:13 PM 

Clinton watch parties announced in Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee

Hillary Clinton supporters will hold watch parties tomorrow night in Green Bay, Madison and Milwaukee. Clinton is not expected to remain in the state.

Lt. Gov. Barb Lawton, state Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-Middleton, and Dane Co. Exec. Kathleen Falk will host the Madison eevent at The Stadium Bar.

The Green Bay event will be at the Bay City Smokehouse and the Milwaukee event will be at the Rock Bottom Brewery. U.S. Rep. Greg Meeks, D-NY, is scheduled to attend the event in Milwaukee.

See more details on the watch parties here.


-- By Staff

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 4:05 PM 

Obama's wife asks voters to 'dream a little'

MILWAUKEE -- Michelle Obama, the wife of presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama, encouraged Wisconsin voters to "dream a little" when casting their votes during the primary tomorrow.

At a stop in Milwaukee, Obama said electing her husband president would prove to Americans that they can achieve the impossible and do anything.

"Everything begins and ends with dreaming," said Obama to a crowd of several hundred at the Pabst Theater. She drew about 700 to an event later in the day at the Overture Center in Madison.



Michelle highlighted Obama's resume, saying he has more years of legislative experience than his Dem opponent, Hillary Clinton. She also highlighted Obama's work expanding healthcare for kids in the state of Illinois and in passing ethics reform.

Obama touted her husband's opposition to the war in Iraq.

"We were a country afraid, and we had leadership that manipulated that fear," Obama said.

She said her husband was the only candidate "who had the courage to stand up" and oppose the war from the outset, first taking that stand during his primary election for U.S. Senate in Illinois.

Michelle spoke of the disbelief many had in her husband's campaign, saying in Madison he "overcame a lot of odds." Earning enough campaign dollars, creating a successful political organization, winning the Iowa caucus and cutting into Sen. Hillary Clinton's national poll numbers were many of the bars said to be impossible to overcome that Obama was able to "leap over," she said.

"What we've learned this year is hope is making a comeback," she said.

These challenges are similar to those "regular folks" face each day, Obama said, adding that hope and inspiration will "lower the bar" that continues to rise and help Americans reach their dreams.

She refuted the charges that her husband is untested, saying he learned the ropes in the rough-and-tumble world of Chicago politics.

"Folks here in Wisconsin should understand - we live in Chicago," she said in Madison. "Barack has seen it all. He's tough enough."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Ald. Willie L. Hines Jr. were among those in attendance. Barrett's wife, Kris, and Congresswoman Gwen Moore introduced Obama.

In Madison, she was introduced by Tia Nelson, daughter of former Wisconsin Gov. and U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, and was accompanied by Jessica Doyle, wife of Gov. Jim Doyle.

Listen to audio from the Madison appearance here.

-- By Rebecca Kontowicz and Greg Bump

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 1:26 PM 

Poll shows Obama stronger Dem against McCain in Badger State

A poll by Survey USA shows that Barack Obama would fair better among Wisconsin voters in a general election matchup with GOP frontrunner John McCain.

Fifty-two percent of poll respondents said they would pick Obama over McCain, while 42 percent chose McCain. Six percent were undecided.

Meanwhile, McCain won a head-to-head matchup with Clinton by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin. Nine percent were undecided.

The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 4.3 percent.

A Survey USA poll released Jan. 23 had McCain up on Obama 46-44, while he led Clinton 49-45.

A WISC-TV poll had Obama up 49-42 head-to-head with McCain. Obama also led Huckabee 54-38 among respondents.

The survey had Clinton with a 46-44 edge over McCain and 51-39 lead over Huckabee.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

See the polling memo.

-- By Staff

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 1:11 PM 

Clinton stresses health care and economy at St. Norbert appearance

DE PERE -- Hillary Clinton pushed her health care and economy plans this morning at a town hall style speech at St. Norbert College.

While urging supporters to go vote in tomorrow's primaries, Clinton took time to answer questions at the end of her speech.

Instead of attacking Barack Obama or John McCain, Clinton spent much of her time attacking current President Bush over her key issues.

"We will begin to restore confidence and competence in our government," Clinton said. "Under this president ... we've got cronyism, corruption and incompetence."

Clinton's speech, which was delayed from Sunday due to the weather, tied together the importance of secondary education with the economy, and outlined her "economic blueprint," which was distributed to audience members.

"There is no reason that America can't be producing jobs again," Clinton said.

Before anyone got on stage, chants could be heard from audience members, "Hillary for president! Obama for vice president!"

Clinton did not mention Obama or McCain by name, but told the approximately 600 people in attendance she has "a great deal of respect for her opponent" in the primary race. Later in the speech, Clinton said she was a "proven commodity," and that "There is a big difference between speeches and solutions."

Clinton addressed a variety of other issues, including a plan to promote alternative energy, beginning to pull troops out of Iraq within 60 days of her inauguration, re-writing the tax code, ending No Child Left Behind and rebuilding the United States' image aboard. During the question session, audience members wanted to know more about Clinton's stance on tax cuts, helping teachers, gender disparities and labor issues.

While pointing out her solutions for America, Clinton continued to take shots at the current administration over issues such as energy, Iraq, and other foreign affairs.
"I think the world will breathe a big sigh of relief when President Bush and Dick Cheney leave office," Clinton said. "The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."

Lt. Gov. Barbra Lawton and U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, both spoke before Clinton took the podium. Kagen talked about the need for and benefits of Clinton's health care plan, while Lawton focused more on education. Also in attendance were Mayor Jim Schmitt of Green Bay, Mayor Mike Walsh of De Pere, state Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and state Rep. James Soletski, D-Green Bay.

-- By Tim Maylander

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 1:09 PM 

McCain campaign running TV ad in Wisconsin

John McCain's campaign is running its "Never Surrender" TV ad in Wisconsin.

The ad, first unveiled before the South Carolina primary, calls attention to the Arizona senator's position on Iraq, from calling for a change in strategy to refusing to "play politics with the truth."

"One man does what's right, not what's easy," the ad conludes.

See the ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9dd6wnCawE

-- By Andy Szal

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 11:46 AM 

Poll: Obama's lead expands, McCain's shrinks

North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling has issued their second Wisconsin presidential primary poll in less than a week, showing Barack Obama slightly expanding his lead while John McCain's margin has decreased.

In a survey of 822 likely Democratic primary voters, Obama leads Hillary Clinton 53-40, up from a 50-39 advantage last week.

Among 654 likely GOP voters, McCain leads Mike Huckabee 50-39. In last week's PPP poll, the margin was 53-32.

The poll, taken by automated telephone February 16-17, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent for the Democratic results, and plus or minus 3.8 percent for the Republican results.

See the poll: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/PPP_Wisconsin_Release_021808.pdf

See more on last week's Public Policy Polling poll here.

-- By Andy Szal

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 11:09 AM 

Clinton campaign: Obama stole part of Founder's Day speech

Hillary Clinton's campaign says Barack Obama lifted part of his speech at the Founder's Day Gala in Milwaukee on Saturday from a speech delivered two years earlier by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick.

"The words he spoke in Wisconsin on Saturday night were inspiring, but now they seem less authentic and more political," said U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass.

Clinton campaign communications director Howard Wolfson and McGovern said the lack of attribution from Obama raises questions about his campaign. They added that Obama's thin record as a public official makes the content of his speeches more significant.

"If you're asking the public to judge you on your promises and your rhetoric and you break your promises and lift rhetoric, that raises fundamental questions," said McGovern.

Wolfson claimed Obama has a pattern of breaking campaign promises dating back to 2003. He cited a disconnection between Obama's words and votes on the Patriot Act and his pursuit of a single-payer health care system.

Patrick endorsed Obama's presidential bid back in October, and there are reports that the two are friends who frequently share lines on the stump.

Video from the Clinton campaign comparing the speeches in question can be seen here.

-- By Matt Steingraber

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 10:30 AM 

Clinton, Obama target pop radio listeners

In an effort to reach non-traditional voters, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama this morning appeared on the morning drive shows of top pop radio stations in the Milwaukee and Madison markets.

You can find audio of their interviews on Milwaukee's WKTI here.

Both candidates also appeared on Madison's Z104 this morning. Find audio it here.

-- By Staff

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 10:11 AM 

Dane Co. political couple split on Dem choice Tuesday

One Dane Co. political couple is faced with the same tough choice many Dem families are debating in advance of Tuesday's primary.

Wayne Bigelow, chair of the Dane Co. Democratic Party, is backing Barack Obama, while his wife Carol Brooks, a former Dane Co. board member, is backing Hillary Clinton.

Bigelow and Brooks were at the Wisconsin Democratic Party dinner in Milwaukee on Saturday night, and weren't moved to switch their choices.

Bigelow noted the candidates' "very different styles" but said Obama was more inspirational.

"Both candidates are wonderful. McCain can't compete," Brooks said. "Both have many of the same ideas. I just think she'd be ready to go from Day 1."


-- By Staff

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 8:55 AM 

New poll shows surprising numbers for Clinton, Huckabee

A new poll from American Research Group Inc. finds Hillary Clinton with a six point lead over Barack Obama, a finding contrary to other polls in the Badger State.

The telephone poll, conducted Feb. 15 and 16 among 600 likely Democratic primary voters Wisconsin, gives Clinton a 49 percent to 43 percent edge. The poll included 374 Democrats and 226 independents and Republicans, according to ARG.

On the GOP side, John McCain holds a slim 46 percent to 42 percent lead over Mike Huckabee. The Republican poll sample included 415 Republicans and 185 indepedents and Democrats, according to ARG.

-- By Staff

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 8:14 AM 

Today's presidential campaign events

CLINTON CAMPAIGN
- 9:30 a.m.: Hillary Clinton "Solutions for America" town hall, St. Norbert College, Schuldes Sport Center, 601 Third St., De Pere.
- 1:15 p.m.: Hillary Clinton Attends a "Solutions for America" Town Hall, Wausau Labor Temple, 318 S. 3rd Ave., Wausau.
- 1:30 p.m.: Chelsea Clinton event, Jefferis-Wood Campus Center, Beloit College, Beloit
- 8:30 p.m.: Hillary Clinton rally, Monona Terrace, 1 John Nolen Drive, Madison.

OBAMA CAMPAIGN
- 11:50 a.m.: Michelle Obama campaign rally, The Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells St., Milwaukee.
- 3:15 p.m.: Michelle Obama campaign rally, Capitol Theater, Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State St., Madison.
- 6:15 p.m.: Michelle Obama campaign rally, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse, Cartwright Center, Valhalla Room, 1725 State St., La Crosse.
- 8 p.m.: Stand for change rally with Barack Obama, Flood Arena, Beloit College, 700 College St., Beloit.

HUCKABEE CAMPAIGN
- 8 a.m.: Hudson Bagel and Coffee Company, 800 Carmichael Rd., Hudson
- 11 a.m.: Rm. 103, Davies Center -- UW-Eau Claire, 105 Garfield Ave., Eau Claire
- 3 p.m.: Wave Ballroom, 2350 Casaloma Dr., Appleton

McCAIN CAMPAIGN
- 5:30 p.m.: Outagamie Co. Republican Party's Annual Lincoln Day Dinner with remarks from John McCain, Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, Appleton.
http://www.wisgop.org/Calendar/Detail.aspx?EventID=9068

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

 10:10 PM 

Huckabee warns of 'incredible resentment' if primary process cut off

SOUTH MILWAUKEE -- Declaring a GOP nominee before the primary results are in would be an insult to the party's grassroots, Mike Huckabee said Sunday night, warning it could create "incredible resentment" among the party's "foot soldiers."

Huckabee's comments came on the eve of the expected endorsement of John McCain by President George H.W. Bush. Huckabee chalked that up to those in Washington thinking the race for the GOP nomination is over.

"You wanted to have a system that says here a process," Huckabee said at a South Milwaukee bowling alley. "Now that we are in the middle of the process, of the game, people are saying, 'Let's not even finish it out.'"

Huckabee said the move to cut off the process could alienate the party's grassroots and the ensuing resentment could damage party unity.

Huckabee returned to wintry Wisconsin on Sunday after delivering a speech in the Cayman Islands Saturday night. Event coordinators said that 150 people turned out to see Huckabee.



Ben Jageer, 24, of Oak Creek, said he supports Huckabee because McCain "is a little to willing to compromise." He also likes Huckabee's straightforwardness.

Lora Siehr, 48, of West Allis, said that Huckabee "is the right man for the job." But she will vote for McCain if Huckabee is not the nominee.

Huckabee stressed his anti-abortion credentials, his push for a so-called "fair tax" and his stance on immigration, a weak spot for McCain with some conservatives.

When asked about McCain's statement that he would not create any new taxes, Huckabee said that he was ahead of McCain, having signed a No New Tax pledge last February.

He opened the event by inviting the media to bowl a game with him and his wife.

At times the couple would use the media cameras to take photos of the bowlers, getting in their faces and snapping photos.

-- By Samantha Hernandez

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 9:26 PM 

Clinton Madison rally set for Monday, 8:30 p.m.

Hillary Clinton's rescheduled Madison event will start at 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Monona Terrace. Other rescheduled events include stops in De Pere at 9:30 a.m. and Wausau at 1:15 p.m.

Sen. Clinton will be joined by daughter Chelsea at the Madison rally. Earlier in the day, Chelsea Clinton will attend a campaign event at Beloit College at 1:30 p.m.

-- By Staff

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 6:33 PM 

Lawton says Clinton, Obama have 'fundamental difference' on health care

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have a "fundamental difference" in their approach to health care and it's important to point out to voters that his plan would still leave 15 million Americans uninsured, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton said today.

Lawton, who's backing Clinton in the race, was responding to a conference call Gov. Jim Doyle and U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy held with reporters today to assail a mailer her campaign sent out as an attack piece.

Doyle complained that Clinton was going negative a time when she was planning to pull out of Wisconsin before Tuesday's primary.

"It's a fundamental difference in the understanding of how government can work to do good for us in our lives," Lawton said. "She understands how to drive us to universal health care, and Barack Obama's plan as analyzed by independent economists leaves 15 million uninsured."

Lawton also said the governor had made an "erroneous statement" in saying Clinton was going to leave Wisconsin early and had "jumped the gun."

Clinton had planned to leave Wisconsin during the day Monday. But she's now trying to squeeze in three stops she had scheduled for Sunday but had to delay because of the weather. They include a rally in De Pere that has been rescheduled for 9:30 a.m. Monday, another rally in Madison and a town hall meeting in Wausau.

"Senator Clinton and everybody attached to her campaign have given us their full attention and energy," Lawton said.

-- By JR Ross

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